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Keywords:

  • education;
  • evaluation;
  • GPs;
  • upskilling;
  • workshops

Abstract

Objective: To pilot and evaluate an intervention aimed at increasing the palliative care capacity of primary health care providers in rural and remote communities.

Design: Pre- and post-workshop, and three months follow-up questionnaires.

Setting: Four locations in Far North Queensland.

Subjects: One hundred and forty-nine primary health care providers ranging from personal care workers to general practitioners (GPs).

Interventions: Fourteen workshops were conducted. These were tailored to local palliative case loads facilitated by a specialist palliative care team from the Mt Olivet Hospice Service. Workshop content consisted of introductory didactic teaching based on participant-nominated topics, small group case management discussions and a session devoted to psychosocial and counselling inputs.

Main outcome measures: Cost, GP reach, evaluation of educational and clinical objectives.

Results: Average cost per participant – excluding wages – was $271. Thirty-two per cent of local GPs attended the workshops and 93.2% of participants reported that the workshops had satisfied their educational learning objectives. Evaluation of GP clinical performance revealed significant improvements in confidence regarding palliative care knowledge and skill levels as well as the management of common palliative symptoms. Evaluation of other primary health care providers’ clinical performance showed significant improvements in skills, management and rated knowledge.

Conclusions: This intervention is relatively inexpensive, has reasonable reach and is effective as measured by educational and clinical outcomes.